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The Town Hall at Leczyca was designed by the royal architect Jakub Kubicki and built in the years 1788-1790. Originally classicist in style, it lost some of its character when it was later rebuilt.
The building stands in the middle of the town square, which was quite deserted but for a few drunks on the afternoon we visited the place. We didn't even see many shops there, except for one selling ice-cream. The square looks well cared for and the Town Hall must have been recently done up, but if you take one of the narrow streets leading to it as we did, you cannot help noticing the dilapidated houses with empty shops on the ground floor. The first floor windows have net curtains and pot plants but downstairs there is nothing. I couldn't help wondering when and why those shops or flats had been abandoned. Perhaps they had belonged to the Jews of Leczyca, but surely they wouldn't have remained empty so long after the war? The broken potholed pavements in those narrow cobbled streets do not invite walks. If you don't want to sprain an ankle, it is better not to leave the neatly looking town square.
The royal town boasts interesting cultural events but its condition is far from perfect. Can they blame Boruta the devil for the neglect?
Updated Jun 19, 2008
The early baroque Bernardine Church was consecrated in 1655. It has a 17th century painting of the Immaculate Conception dating back to the 17th century in its main altar and 18th century carved altars made by Franciszek Etner with baroque pictures of saints. Other interesting features of the interior include a rococo pulpit with a statue of the Archangel and a rococo organ with cherubs playing various musical instruments. The walls and vaults are covered with 18th c. rococo polychromy.
The monks were forced to leave the church and the monastery by the Nazis during WWII.
They returned there in 1946.
When we visited the place, May evening Mass was about to begin so we only managed to peer inside and see how ornate the church was.
Updated Jun 15, 2008
Address: Poznanska 18
Phone: (024)721 28 31
When you visit Leczyca, don't miss the great 12th century Collegiate Church at Tum about 2.2 km away, the former location of Leczyca in mediaeval times. A small village that it is now, it can boast this stunning example of Romanesque and Gothic architecture rising beside the few village houses and surrounded by fields. An absolute must-see!
More about Tum and the church on my Tum page.
Updated Jun 13, 2008
Planned still before WWII, the Museum of Leczyca opened in 1949. Its permanent exhibitions cover such topics as the ancient history of the region, Leczyca in the Middle Ages, interiors of country manors in the area in the 17th-19th centuries, folk art and crafts of the Leczyca region and, last but not least, Boruta, the devil of Leczyca, in sculpture and legends. The collection of artists' representations of demons on display is particularly imposing, with over 400 exhibits made in wood, stone, iron or clay. Some of them represent whole scenes from the legends connected with Boruta.
Unfortunately, when we finally arrived there the museum was already closed. We'll have to visit it again, preferably on a Sunday, when there should be less traffic on the roads near Warsaw.
Admission: 6 PLN, concessions - 3 PLN
1.05 - 30.09: Tue.- Fri.-10.00-17.00, Sat.&Sun.- 11.00-17.00
Off season: Tue.- 10.00-17.00, Wed.- Fri.- 10.00-16.00,
Updated Jun 10, 2008
The castle at Leczyca was built by King Kazimierz the Great (Kazimierz Wielki) in the years 1357-1365.
Over the centuries the building was the venue of numerous General Assemblies attended by Polish noblemen, bishops and the kings themselves. King Wladyslaw Jagiello stayed there 36 times, always on state affairs. In 1406 the castle burnt down together with the town but was soon rebuilt.
After the defeat of the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Grunwald the place was used to keep the most eminent of the prisoners of war captive until bail was paid for them.
The castle buildings suffered a great deal of damage in two fires in the 15th century and in fights with the Swedes in the 17th and early 18th centuries. The destruction was so bad that in 1788 the building over the main gate actually collapsed. After 1793, i.e. the second partition of Poland, the castle changed hands a number of times and performed numerous functions - from a fortress to a store house. In 1831 it fell into the hands of the Mayor of Leczyca and the expression is intended as, over the following 10 years, he would gradually sell bits of the castle for brick, which resulted in the collapse of part of the walls, one of the buildings and a tower.
WWII spared the castle, which, partly restored, now houses the local museum and a restaurant with some seating in the courtyard. There are plans for the restoration of another of the castle buildings, so perhaps some day it will regain its former glory?
Updated Jun 9, 2008
Favorite thing: Boruta, the devil of Leczyca, originates in pre-Christian demons and takes his name from the Polish word 'bor' meaning forest as he was considered to be the keeper of the forest and its wildlife as well as the patron of hunters. In ancient times, the town was surrounded by marshes and waterlogged meadows and the misty air seemed to be full of supernatural creatures. Boruta was the best known of them. According to popular belief, this most cunning of Polish devils can take various shapes: that of a nobleman pacing with a sword at his side in the castle courtyard, or of an owl guarding the treasures hidden in the castle dungeons, or of a black creature with a tail and a pitchfork hanging around the Romanesque Collegiate Church at Tum. As an enormous horned fish he lures people to their death in the waters of the Bzura River, as a black horse gallops in the fields around Leczyca, pilfers honey from beehives, mills corn in a deserted mill to give the flour away to the poor.
Boruta resides in the castle of Leczyca. Legend has it that he was once a 14th century young man of noble descent who helped King Kazimierz the Great when his carriage got stuck in the nearby marshes. In return he was presented with the castle. There are many versions of the story how he later turned devil.
Apparently, towards the end of the 14th century a Mazovian prince hid his treasure in the castle dungeons, where Boruta has been guarding it for over 700 years now.
Whoever he was or is, Boruta the devil stays alive in the local folk lore and has even become the main character of a few well-known books and plays in Polish literature.
Updated Jun 25, 2008